This has to be one of the most common questions asked by boat owners everywhere and in an ideal world it would illicit a simple response. However, there are so many variables in determining how long anti foul will last, that it seems only fair to summarise what can affect the longevity of this paint.
One thing that will affect your level of fouling over any thing else is the location your boat is kept in. If it’s in warmer waters, or areas where specific types of fouling reside, you will find the time an antifoul application will last will vary significantly. For some, the moment their boat is in the water during the season is simply an exercise in seeing how much fouling has accumulated each day or week. For others, they may find that the fouling takes just that little bit longer to grow.
This essentially means that depending on where you are, the antifouling paint (subject to the type you’re using) will be something that impacts the longevity of the paint for you.
Levels of Fouling
Another factor in determining how long anti foul paint will last is where in the country you are and the levels of fouling that tend to get seen in those areas.
High fouling areas in the UK include Portsmouth, Langstone, Chichester, Little Hampton, Poole Harbour, Plymouth, East Coast Rivers, Thames, Menai Straits, Largs & Oban, S &SE Ireland…
Medium fouling areas including Lymington (down river), Hamble (down river), Solent, Dorset, Cornwall, Bristol Channel, Wales, Bright, Edinburgh & Firth & Forth, N & E Ireland.
Low fouling areas include Lymington (up river), Hamble (up river), Southampton water, E England, N Scotland, W Ireland.
So even here you can see location is very important. If you’re in a lower fouling area then application will last a lot longer. If you sadly find yourself in the high fouling areas then you’ll discover that you may see depletion of antifouling protection much more quickly.
Types of boat
Another factor in the antifoul you choose will be the type of vessel you’re using. A cruising sale for example may be better with eroding antifoul, which will refresh the surface and biocides exposed to the water. However, again, levels of fouling should be factored in here and how often you’re using the boat.
A racing sail is much faster and tests with foul release coatings are proving to be very effective in managing fouling but also increasing speed through the water. This is because foul release produces an extremely smooth finish, which will cut through the water all the more easily. In terms of foul release and anti foul, it’s definitely an option that will probably work better than a traditional antifoul – especially as racing boats are generally maintained regularly.
Displacement power vessels aren’t all that different to cruising yachts, but they do travel faster. This again, could mean that a foul release coating might be a better option. Why? Because the paint will last five years or more and as yet, no antifouling paint has been able to match it.
Planing power vessels are prone to various issues with antifoul. First off, eroding antifoul won’t actually survive speeds of 20 knots or above. Hard antifoul is usually the choice but it will potentially not stop fouling from attaching. Therefore, again, foul release paints tend to be a good option. The speed of the boat often produces a ‘self cleaning’ outcome and with them lasting five years you are going to get excellent value for money.
Whatever you choose to use, sadly the Oracle can’t provide a conclusive answer to the question of antifoul and how long it will last you, but hopefully our article has given you just a few ideas and considerations to analyse when you’re making your choice for what paint you opt for.
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